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Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands, Sicily: Evolution and Monitoring of Europe’s Most Active Volcanoes


September 6th to 14th 2019

Responsable de l'activité

Thomas Sheldrake


M. Gregor Weber, UNIGE

M. Adam Curry, UNIGE

Dr. Thomas Sheldrake, UNIGE

M. Matt Edwards, UNIGE

Prof. Luca Caricchi, UNIGE


Dre. Laura Pioli, Università di Cagliari

Dr. Thomas Sheldrake, UNIGE

Dr. Marco Neri, INGV Catania

Dr. Daniele Andronico, INGV Catania


Mount Etna and the Aeolian Islands are among the best studied and most heavily monitored volcanoes worldwide, providing an exceptional opportunity to understand how the interaction of geochemistry, physical volcanology, and geophysics contributes to monitoring at active volcanoes. Due to the fertile soils surrounding these volcanoes, the area has been cultivated since prehistoric times and historic observations of eruptive processes at Etna and Stromboli date back as far as the Greek-Roman period. Ancient observations at Etna shaped early ideas on how the interior of Earth works. Today, Etna still poses a series hazard to the local population, as it is situated in close proximity to the City of Catania. The extensive monitoring network is a prime example of how modern volcano observatories work. This fieldtrip provides the chance to visit this exceptional site and learn from local experts at the Etna observatory (INGV) to gain insights into the various sub-disciplines involved in the study of an active volcano.



Meeting in Napoli on the 06th September.

Day 1 (07.09): Stromboli Meeting in Napoli on the evening of the 08.09 and taking an over-night Hydrofoil to Stromboli. Stromboli, in a state of constant activity for more than 2000 years, is one of the best suited volcanoes worldwide to study active eruptive processes «Strombolian activity». Visiting strombolian type outcrops on the volcanoes flank in the afternoon. Guided tour to the crater and observation of active venting processes. Discussion of the physical and chemical controls on eruptive style and frequency.

Day 2 (08.09): Vulcano Island Vulcano island last erupted from 1888-1890 at the La Fossa cone, which led to the recognition of an eruptive style, today classified as «vulcanian». The stratigraphy at La Fossa has been studied in much detail and is a prime example of various hydromagmatic deposits. Discussion of how to extract information on transport, deposition and fragmentation mechanisms from the eruptive products.

Day 3 (09.09): Travel to Nicolosi (morning), Hazards and cultural aspects of Etna (afternoon) Morning: Ferry from Vulcano to Milazzo. Transfer to Catania and pick-up of minivans. Drive to accommodation in Nicolosi. Afternoon: Lava flow and eruptive center (Monti Rossi scoria cone) of the 1669 eruption of Etna that devastated the city of Catania. Discussion of hazards associated with peripheral eruptions at Etna volcano in the light of regional infrastructures, economic activities and distribution of towns and villages.

Day 4 (10.09): Volcanic facies analysis and stratigraphy Eastern summit region and Valle del Bove. Morphological, volcanological and petrological discussion of various volcanic facies: Recent lava flows, feeder dykes and scoria cones, subaerial and subglacial pyroclastic deposits and lava tubes.

Day 5 (11.09): Volcano tectonics and deformation Deformation and collapse structures of Etna volcano. Visit of the two regional faults and associated eruptive centers on the E flanks of the volcano. Discussion of modern methods in volcano-tectonic analysis including field measurements and geodetic approaches. Hazards (roads disruption and seismic activity) related to current crustal movements during magma injection. (Dr. Marco Neri, INGV)

Day 6 (12.09): Vent processes and degassing Visit of the summit craters. Stratigraphy of the most recent eruptive products. Etna as one of the main natural CO2 and sulfur emitter of the world: discussion on open vent degassing dynamics and geochemistry. Relating deposit characteristics to differences in eruptive style and dynamics. Evolution of the summit craters and their relation to Etnas plumbing system. Hazard associated to tephra fallout. Summit monitoring network and its maintenance in a very active area. (Dr. Daniele Andronico, INGV)

Day 7 (13.09): Long-term evolution and monitoring of an active volcano Morning: Visit the Instituto Internazionale di Vulcanologia Catania (Etna Observatory). Guided tour of the monitoring facilities and operation room. Emergency protocol: the role of scientists and public authorities in managing volcanic crises at Etna. Tour of Catania centre: areas covered by the 1669 lava flows Afternoon: Drive to south-eastern coast near Aci Trezza. Early lavas of Etna volcano. Submarine volcanic facies including pillow lavas and hyaloclastite breccias. Discussion of the geochemical evolution of Etna volcano and its complex geodynamic setting.

Day 8 (14.09): Travel back to Switzerland from Catania


Aeolian Islands and Mount Etna





Deadline for registration 20.05.2019
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